19 Missing, 22 Houses Torched As Hostilities Resume In Anambra/Kogi Boarder Communities

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At least 19 persons from Okpeze, Aguleri in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State were said to be missing following two nights of heavy fighting between the community and their Echonwa and Odeke neighbours in Ibaji local government area of Kogi State. 22 houses were also burnt down in the Anambra village by people suspected to be from Kogi.

Some of the relations of the missing people told said yesterday that they were taken unawares on Wednesday and Thursday nights by heavily armed people from Kogi State who allegedly swooped on their homes at wee hours and started shooting and setting fire on houses.

Those who ran out of their houses were said to be captured and taken to unknown destination, and they had since remained missing.

According to the people of the affected community, the type of arms and ammunition used during the raid on Okpeze Aguleri was an indication that the raid was sponsored by people outside the two Kogi State communities, adding that the people of Echonwa and Odeke could not have had easy access to such weapons.

Mrs. Martha Nweke amid sobs said she pleaded with the invaders to let her husband be, but they still took him away.

“We were asleep when suddenly we heard sounds of guns from many directions. There was pandemonium as many people ran out of their houses half naked into the bush. Many children were heard crying as the invaders dragged their fathers out to unknown places.

“Most of the people slept in the bush and when the day broke, we discovered that many houses were either burnt or looted. I thought my husband ran into the bush with others, but when he did not appear in the morning, we knew that he was among those kidnapped.

“We are worried because these invaders had boasted in the past that they will continue to kill and eat our people. We want government to step into this matter without further delay to save us from this trauma.

“We are just beginning to settle down after last year’s flood that destroyed our homes and crops and here we are again facing this attempt to sack us from our community by Kogi people because oil was discovered in our land.”

Following the latest hostilities in the oil-rich border communities, the people of Aguleri have sent an SOS message to the federal government, as well as the governments of Anambra and Kogi states to intervene immediately to avoid further loss of lives and properties.

The National Boundary Commission had earlier met with the deputy governors of the two states for the purpose of finding a lasting solution to the border problem before the renewed hostilities which have led to several loss of lives. The commissioning of the facilities of Orient Petroleum Resources at Aguleri Otu in Anambra State by President Goodluck Jonathan last year, during which Anambra State was listed as an oil producing state made the prospect of the area become more pronounced, and hostilities resumed in the area.

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